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Have a healthy relationship whatever life throws at you, with help from relationship expert Jan Day

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Big life changes, even those that are joyously anticipated, can cause ripples in our relationships. Altering our lifestyle patterns disrupts our established ways of being together and if we aren’t aware and pro-active in dealing with these, they can result in painful consequences in how we relate to our partners.

Here I’ll look at three different scenarios, what to consider and how you can prepare yourselves so that you can use the challenge of changing times to deepen and strengthen your relationship rather than undermine it.

1. Children leaving home

When your children leave home this can create a new phase of life that seems to offer more time and energy for ourselves. Often children can bring an even greater sense of meaning to our lives than work. Even though this won’t dissipate completely, the stage at which we them let go to create their own lives can be difficult as we face feelings of emptiness, possibly loneliness and something of a hole in our lives and routines. In addition, even though our children have left home, our worries and anxieties about what they are doing and whether we’ve prepared them sufficiently are more likely to escalate than subside. We can only trust, be there to support them and let them go to find their own independent lives. It can be a time of identity crisis, especially for mothers who have primarily been focused on children. This stage of life can result in depression, alcoholism and marital conflict as the profound sense of loss impacts our lives.

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